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Off the Shelf: Beef and Caramelized Onion Couscous Salad

Another tasty offering from Off the Shelf. The warm couscous and beef wilt baby spinach leaves slightly, creating a delicious warm salad. I had one minor quibble with proportions; otherwise, this is an easy, yummy lunch or dinner idea.

Donna Hay calls for 4 onions in the ingredients list, which seems like way too many. There's no indication of size, just "4 onions," so if we're talking about standard yellow onions, 4 of them sliced up would overwhelm the couscous that they're stirred into. As it was, I made this dish with only 2 onions, and still felt as though they were a bit too much. In my revised recipe, I've called for 1 large or 2 medium yellow onions. I've also increased the cooking time slightly, since the original instruction to cook the onions for "8 to 10 minutes" wasn't sufficient to soften them fully and turn them golden.

The recipe was very good with Dijon mustard. As a variation, you could try a heartier English or German grain mustard.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 to 1 1/2 pounds beef filet or strip steak, fat trimmed
1 Tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bag (about 6 oz.) baby spinach leaves

For the couscous: 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 large or 2 medium yellow onions, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
2 cups plain couscous
2 1/2 cups hot chicken or beef broth
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a nonstick frying pan or grill pan over high heat. Rub the steak with the 1 Tbsp olive oil, then sprinkle well with pepper. Cook the meat to desired doneness (time will depend on thickness; about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare, 2-inch thick steaks). Set aside, covered, when done.

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and the sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, about 12 to 15 minutes, until onions are soft and golden brown. Place the couscous in a medium bowl and pour the hot broth over it. Cover and allow the liquid to absorb for 5 minutes.

Combine the mustard, the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Fluff up the couscous with a fork, then toss with the olive oil mixture. Add the onions and stir to combine.

To serve, place spinach leaves on the bottom of the plate. Top with the couscous and onions. Slice the steak on the diagonal and place the slices over the couscous. If any beef juices have collected in the bottom of the pan, pour them over the top. Serve with extra mustard on the side, if desired.

 

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©2005 Colleen Flippo. All rights reserved. Contact the author.